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Brits Rejecting Superfast Broadband 247

Barence writes "Britain's biggest ISPs are struggling to convince customers to upgrade to superfast broadband. Of the six million customers who can get fiber broadband from BT, Britain's biggest ISP, only 300,000 have done so — a conversion rate of only 5%. Only 2.3% of Virgin Media customers, meanwhile, have upgraded to 50Mbits/sec or 100Mbits/sec connections. The chief of Ofcom, Britain's telecoms regulator, admits that take-up is 'still low' and says only families with teenage children are bothering to upgrade to fiber."
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Brits Rejecting Superfast Broadband

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:48PM (#38029632)

    maybe they could get FIRST POST!

    • "admits that take-up is 'still low' and says only families with teenage children are bothering to upgrade to fiber."

      That's what happens when you beat the hell out of your economy and your customers. They lose economic leverage. Nothing to see here but corporate and political greed.

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        I had Virgin broadband - 50 Mbits - for working at home and downloading like PDF documents it was a dream. The download speed was faster than my university network, as I could regularly get 300K/second at home, but only 25K/second at work.

        The data caps were a pain though - the largest files I would ever download were live Linux DVD's at 4 Gigabyte each. The first half of the download would be superfast, then the throttling would kick in, and the download would slow down to 6 or 9 hours.

        I always thought it w

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TMW2N ( 157210 )

          That's odd, since virgin don't limit download with the 50 meg service, and only throttle upload in areas with faster uploads

          • by mikael ( 484 )

            Well, my downloads definitely slowed down. Could never figure out if it was the host server, the inbetween network or Virgin's cable network.

  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:49PM (#38029648) Homepage

    First things I'd look at are price, getting screwed over by the incumbents, then I'd look to see the current state of the country along with Europe, and wondering whether or not I'd have a job next week. Superfast is all good and fine, but if what you have works. It'll work until things get better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      We've got 30Mbit Virgin, its excellent and plenty fast enough between four of us. Didn't see any point paying the extra for 50 or 100 yet. Maybe in a year or two.
      • by Patch86 ( 1465427 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @06:40AM (#38033720)

        I've got 10 Mbit/s from Virgin, and it's ample to watch two high resolution video streams at once (the most pressure it is usually put under in our two person household). I've considered upgrading (50Mbps is available in my area)- but what's the point? It's never been a limiting factor for me, and the 50Mbps would up my monthly bill by more than 50%.

        And not to put too fine a point on it, if you can't convince me (an iPlayer-watching, PC-gaming, large-file-downloading Slashdot reader) that it's worth the money, what hope of convincing a Joe Bloggs, my-computer-is-an-appliance, user?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:55PM (#38029738)

      Not to mention, why buy a superfast connection whose main usages are going to be things that are more and more likely to get you sued. I say this because it appears that the main leading adopters are families with teenage children...who don't have all that much money themselves. So what are they downloading faster? It's just like the constant marketing of bigger capacity mp3 one has the money to fill them what exactly are these companies expecting to happen?

      I know the answer. They want you to buy the service, but not actually use it. It's worked really well for gym memberships for decades.

      • This is really the problem. People don't want to pay for a faster connection if there are no applications that need it, but there is no business case for an application that needs it until people have the connections. Take Netflix at 1080p. If they released it they would have a million customers with 16Mbps connections blaming Netflix for the choppiness (or the auto-downgrade to 720p when they paid for 1080p) because it would require 20Mbps per stream.

        What ISPs need to do is charge all customers the same ra

        • > What ISPs need to do is charge all customers the same rate, where that
          > rate includes a certain amount to pay for a regular stream of upgrades.

          Do you work for a cable company? You sound like the typical cableco apologist whining about how customers should continue to pay for 500 crappy channels, instead of the dozen or so that they watch.

          > Then when the upgrade comes everybody gets it. That helps the ISP because...

          That helps the ISP because they get more money in the bank, for "services" that mos

      • by leenks ( 906881 )

        I pay £10 a month for Spotify and can fill my mp3 players (iPhone and iPad2) easily with whatever music I want. Too bad I'm stuck on 3mbit broadband and a 50GB cap. I'd jump to cable or an FTTC service in a heartbeat if I could.


      • by LongearedBat ( 1665481 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @09:14AM (#38034166)

        the main leading adopters are families with teenage children... So what are they downloading faster?



    • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

      The article mentions price, but claims 35 GBP for 100Mbps...

      Right now, I'm paying the equivalent of 75 GBP for 50Mbps, so to me, 35 seems super cheap.

      • OTOH I'm paying the equivalent of ~31 GBP for a 5mbps connection, so any of those options seems to be extremely cheap from my point of view. But, the other consideration is how much the less expensive options are. Just because they're dirt cheap compared with my expensive connection doesn't mean that the funds are there for a connection that costs more money on a real basis.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:21PM (#38030004)

        When they quote the £35 price, they don't usually include the 'hidden extras'.
        I found it impossible to get service at the price, as they wouldn't offer me the service unless I also took out a phone line (yes, even with Virgin cable), at around £15 a month.
        The end result is that my 30Mbps broadband is listed at £8.50 per month on the website, but I find myself paying £28.50 per month in reality.

        • by xaxa ( 988988 )

          All the good offers from Virgin seem to say "when taken with a Virgin phone line".

          I have just 30Mb/s broadband (and nothing else), which costs £30. It's been over a year, so I bet if I phone up they'll reduce it to the current £28.50 price, but that might come with a new 12 month contract, which I don't want. 50Mb/s would cost £35/month, and I'm not sure I see the point of upgrading... what is the point? Slighly faster downloads, if the server is fast enough, but almost everything is ei

          • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @07:33PM (#38030738)

            I've thought of a way they could tempt me to upgrade: faster upload speed. When I get back from a trip somewhere and have 4GB or so of photographs to copy to the gallery on my website/server, it would be good it if would transfer at more than 1Mb/s. Upgrading to the £5 more package with my current ISP (Virgin) would raise that to 1.5Mb/s, which isn't worth it. 10Mb/s would be, which is what BT are offering. But only from December, and for £38/month, with an 18 month contract, which is too long -- I'm planning to move. But it's something to look for at my next place...

            My dad would be interested too, since he likes to print some photos, and it takes ages to upload them to the photo printing website. And my brother (still lives at home) could upload his YouTube videos much faster.

            • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @08:50AM (#38034116)

              It's a crying shame what's going on with upload speeds in this country. A recent broadband review in the Guardian failed to highlight this, focusing only on download speed. British Telecom artificially cap DSL upload speed at something like 448kbs, and that gets passed on via wholesale to a plethora of other ISPs. There's only a handful of ISPs that offer reasonable or uncapped ADSL2+ upload speeds. Don't try making a Skype call from most homes in the UK when somebody's uploading photos; even downloads are impacted due to delayed ACKs being bottlenecked.

              BT lied to me when I told them I was switching to Be Unlimited, giving upload speed as a reason: they tried to tell me that it would be impossible for BE to offer something faster than BT. I will never go back to BT, so I was recently pleased to read that BE are trialling fibre in one exchange in Barking. I hope they start rolling it out nationwide soon. I'm prepared to pay a little extra for an unlimited/uncapped internet connection, and to avoid BT.

              The other thing that's sickening, as mentioned in another thread, is the requirement ISPs insist on regarding having voice service just to get broadband. This is a scam. Other countries where I've lived don't insist on this. Voice service is not required for data service, and easily be unbundled. Why would I want a voice line when we all have our own mobile phones? To top it, I get charged a penalty if I forget to make a small number of phone calls on it a month, even if those calls cost less than the penalty. Ugh, I hate the consumer experience in this country.

          • My options for AT&T DSL are 3Mb/s with a phone line or 768K without. My biggest problem with that is my last apartment didn't have that ludicrous limitation. I could get the same speeds without a phone line but only a few dollars more per month.

        • by rsborg ( 111459 )

          When they quote the £35 price, they don't usually include the 'hidden extras'.
          I found it impossible to get service at the price, as they wouldn't offer me the service unless I also took out a phone line (yes, even with Virgin cable), at around £15 a month.
          The end result is that my 30Mbps broadband is listed at £8.50 per month on the website, but I find myself paying £28.50 per month in reality.

          Consider yourself lucky. I have a 12Mbps account in the USA (with wonderful Comcast) for $60+(ie, internet cost + either basic cable @ $15 or $15 fee). Getting 20Mbps or 50Mbps would cost $30 and $50 more.

          Slow uptake may be more likely due to overall economic conditions and fear of reprisal for "illegal" activity. Also not sure about where you are, but here, we have monthly bandwidth quotas which are shrinking.

        • by EdZ ( 755139 )
          Add to that, the cheapest deals (i.e. the advertised deals) for a given speed will be the ones with a ludicrously small download limit (e.g. 2gb/month limit).
    • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:33PM (#38030150) Journal

      It's a combination of the fact that current tech is good enough for the moment, and both BT and Virgin's offerings are capped, throttled, very expensive, or some combination of the above. Not to say I don't expect to pay more for new infrastructure, just to say that I won't do so if it doesn't represent good value overall. A couple of years down the line I'm sure I'll be very glad that the fibre is in place, and I sincerely hope they don't take the low early demand as an excuse to stop investing, but for now it just doesn't seem worth it.

      I'm in central London, so I have a fairly wide range of ISPs to choose from - I currently get about 17Mbps over copper with Sky, genuinely unlimited usage, and it costs around £22/month including line rental (if you're comparing, most of the figures quoted online exclude line rental, and it's generally about £10-12/month) and evening weekend calls (not that I ever really use the landline, but it's a free addition). As it stands, there really aren't many occasions that the current line feels sluggish, although I'd probably want a little more headroom if I were regularly streaming HD video. If I went over to fibre (or copper, they're the same price) with BT I'd be paying either £28/month for 40Mbps with a data cap of 40GB/month, or £38/month for 40Mbps unlimited - a 40GB cap renders the high speed service all but useless to me (Steam alone probably eats through that much between three of us in the house), so I'm looking at an extra 75% on my bill every month if I want a usable fibre line from BT. Virgin's 50Mbps and below packages have both packet shaping and caps of varying onerousness, so they're already off the table, and the 100Mbps service costs £48.90/month.

      Like I said, I don't expect to get top end service for nothing, but there's no way I'm using crippled fibre, nor am I paying somewhere in the region of twice as much for a proper fibre line that I'll see, at best, a minimal boost from.

      • both BT and Virgin's offerings are capped, throttled, very expensive, or some combination of the above

        Exactly, I've got Virgin Broadband at home and they throttle the hell out of me (I'm a torrenter). I went to stay with a friend for a month recently and BT told him he was going to exceed their "fair use policy" on a supposedly "unlimited" deal.

        So why pay for the extra bandwidth if you're not allowed to use it.

      • by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @06:22AM (#38033658) Homepage Journal

        Same here - central London and just moved into a house without a phone line and a virgin 50Mb pipe. We got rid of Virgin when we noticed that pings to most servers in europe were 100-150ms and that sites like iPlayer and youtube appeared to be throttled down to 1-2Mb/s download. The Virgin-supplied hardware was also complete and utter dross (two or three reboots a day if you used wireless, and you weren't allowed to replace it with your own kit). People I know on BT have the exact same experience.

        Switched to ADSL via BeThere, "only" 24Mb/s (line actually syncs at about 21Mb/s) but pings are in the 20-30ms range and there's no capping going on so it feels much faster.

        In summary, people aren't going for these "fast" connections because most people tech-savvy enough to utilise a >25Mb/s pipe are also tech savvy enough to know that service through BT or Virgin is going to be piss-poor throttled arsebiscuits. As soon as the fibre is leased out to competent providers you'll start to see more of a groundswell.

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      Yes! I can imagine the ad on TV (at least in the US):

      Buy the new super mega fastest internet: 10Gbps! For only $100 a month, you can reach your "unlimited monthly cap" in less than a second!
      • I count myself as very lucky for the internet options where I live. I currently have Frontier FIOS, 35 Mbps up/down, for $60 a month, no caps whatsoever (I would have easily found out about any caps with my downloading habits.) Portland area in Oregon. But that's one benefit from living within 5 miles of 6 Intel manufacturing plants.
        • by Jerry ( 6400 )

          You are fortunate!

          The best deal I can get in Lincoln, Nebraska is 15Mb/s for $52/mo, no caps. But, that's 2 Mb/s download speed and 1 Mb/s upload speed.. InternetSpeedTest shows I have 14.8Mb/s usable bandwidth. IF I wanted to pay $100/mo for $50Mb/s I could triple my speed, but $100 for Internet only is too much for two little. A friend of mine in France pays $30/mo for a 40Mb/s connection that include 200 channels of TV and a 24/7/365 free phone call to anywhere in France.

        • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
          You're very fortunate, last time I asked around Frontier wasn't providing service near Tanasbourne and end up with Comcast! Haven't checked recently.
          • I'm in Hillsboro, Verizon were heavily building out in this area a couple years ago, then they pretty much stopped and sold all their non-wireless assets to Frontier. As far as I know, Frontier hasn't done any further build-out, but I could be wrong. Hillsboro seems to be pretty competitive for internet and TV, you can get FIOS, Comcast internet, and probably DSL also in most areas. Consequently the prices are kept reasonably priced. I imagine Frontier is aggressively competing with Comcast - a customer ser
  • No shit, sherlock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:51PM (#38029664)

    Price is clearly a major factor, too. Virgin’s 100Mbits/sec service costs £35 a month (when taken with a Virgin phone line), but its cheapest 10Mbits/sec package costs only £13.50 – almost a third of the price. And while BT does indeed match the price of its top-end ADSL and fibre packages, you can get BT’s up to 20Mbits/sec ADSL for as little as £13 (plus line rental), compared to the minimum £28 per month outlay for fibre. When the whole country’s looking after the pennies, people need a pretty good reason to upgrade.

    PC Pro has just discovered that if you increase prices, fewer people will want to pay. They must be on to something.

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      There's also the question of how much speed is enough. I can wait five minutes for patches and updates to install on a 6.5 MBit link. It's far more than adequate for a single-user home.

      Even if you're a torrent freak, there's only so much content you can download and watch, and 100Mbit download is just overkill unless you've got a huge household.

      Now upload speed for running a business demo website -- that I could use.

      • Re:No shit, sherlock (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:39PM (#38030218) Journal

        Even if you're a torrent freak, there's only so much content you can download and watch, and 100Mbit download is just overkill unless you've got a huge household.
        Now upload speed for running a business demo website -- that I could use.

        Speak for yourself. Our non-huge household of 2 adults and 2 kids has had 100/10 for four years, and found the download speed very useful, without any torrents. We recently switched to 100/100 symmetric for 43euro/month (it includes IP TV as well).

        You're correct in asserting that the upload speed is important, although for a household rather than a business. Our web server has many photo slideshows and quite a few SD/HD videos (mostly of our kids at ballet performances or horse riding competitions), and at 10Mbps upload it could get congested if more than 2 or 3 people were streaming them. At 100Mbps, there are no issues with streaming.

        • by Inda ( 580031 )
          This is my 30mbit with Virgin Media:

          The constant 9mbit is a torrent
          The 30mbit spike at the beginning is the "What's hot" page on G+
          The 30mbit minute section towards the end is a 720p video on YouTube + the torrent

          There are three people sharing the internet in my house.

          When I can get a good deal from VM (no one pays the asking price with them), I will upgrade to 50mbit.
        • by Timmmm ( 636430 )

          I think upload speed is the killer feature for fibre. ADSL is effectively limited to 1 Mb/s upstream, which is pathetic. Hell, my phone has a better upstream bandwidth than that.

          Things you need fast upstream bandwidth for: video conferencing, streaming videos (e.g. from your home computer to a friends house; 1 Mb/s is not enough), uploading photos to facebook (so tedious!), uploading music to google music, etc. All of those are currently really slow or don't really work.

    • by nzac ( 1822298 )

      Once you can stream HD speed goes way down on priority. Especially since the other end may not support 100Mbit to you anyway.

      I expect most people would want more cap so they can actually use the 20Mbits they have.

  • Upstream! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:52PM (#38029684) Journal
    10Mb/s at the moment is fine. Much faster and the bottleneck just moves off the last mile. I'd much rather have a 10Mb/s up, 20Mb/s down connection than the 5Mb/s up, 50Mb/s down that Virgin offers. Sure, I can get 10Mb/s down if I pay for the 100Mb/s connection, but with that sort of speed the bottleneck for most things becomes my 802.11g network. Until I get around to upgrading everything to 802.11n, there's no advantage in more than 20Mb/s. What I would be willing to pay more for:
    • Static IPv4 address
    • Full IPv6 support
    • More upstream

    What Virgin Media offers me on the more expensive tariffs is more downstream and a tiny bit more upstream. So I've gone from subscribing to their most expensive plan in 2003 to subscribing to their least expensive one in 2011.

    • But you are, essentially, describing a business user. Let's face it, your desires are not those of the Zombies of Endless Summer - the primary life form on the Internet. And since they can soak businesses (and oddballs like you) for those features, they're going to.

      • Not really, I personally have the same idea about what my home connection should look like. 10 megs of upstream and full IPv6 support is what I need the most right now. The days when upstream speed on consumer connection didn't matter are long gone. When it takes you the whole freaking day to upload 15 minute video in decent HD quality to YouTube...
      • Static IP maybe. IPv6? It makes a whole lot of things easier, especially things like VoIP. Home users don't care, but people writing software for home users do. More upstream? Definitely not limited to business use. Uploading photos and videos to flickr / gootube / facebook is increasingly common. So is sending large emails. Upstream is increasingly the bottleneck for home users - Virgin Media even acknowledged that a few months ago, but they haven't modified their plans yet.
    • Re:Upstream! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:38PM (#38030208)

      Agreed. If we want to use all these funky cloud-based services and run automated off-site back-ups, we can't keep pretending that the asymmetry in ADSL can stay at a 10:1 ratio.

      Of course, many places will offer you SDSL, as long as you're prepared to pay an order of magnitude more to have it.

    • by KZigurs ( 638781 )

      Why do you give a fuck about ipv6? No, seriously?
      (apart from some religious idea that it makes a difference)

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      What I would be willing to pay more for: Static IPv4 address

      Why should you pay more for something they do not pay anything extra for.
      During the dialup times, IP addresses where spread out because not each and every person was online at the same time. With broadband that is different. Even if the provider would need to order more IPs, there will be no difference in price they pay for them. Even the difference between the smallest amount and the largest is probably less then the total money they spend on toil

  • Cost? (Score:3, Informative)

    by NNUfergs ( 1794256 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:52PM (#38029696)
    If it's like any other British technology commodities, it costs more than it's worth. After the promotional pricing ended I pay $70 a month for 40x5Mb/s. ISPs charge WAY to much for their services.
    • For all the good HW pricing we get in the states, we take it in the rear for data pricing.

      Seriously...the fastest I can buy from my two providers (Verizon and Comcast) are 4Mb/0.8Mb for $37/mo and 12Mb/2Mb for $60/mo., and this is in a fairly well wired (short of FiOS) college town. I actually had someone recently offer to switch me to T1 'cause they were running new lines on my street - symmetric 1.5Mb for ONLY $70/mo.

      I'd jump at 50Mb or 100Mb service for under $100, but - if they were even available (whi

      • by lwsimon ( 724555 )

        I was ecstatic to upgrade recently to 8Mbps/2Mbps for $95 / month. It's the first time it was available in my area.

        Prior to that, I have 256Kbps/128kbps up. ISDN was a competitive service.

  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:56PM (#38029746)

    10Mb/sec is pretty fast. Hell, I only have 1.5Mb/sec at home and that is almost as fast as I really need (although not when shared.) I'd certainly upgrade to much faster if I could (100Mb/sec would be amazing), but most people really don't need more than 10Mb/s. Unless you do lots of, um, downloading "Linux ISOs" off Bittorrent or something, or for professional reasons, most people don't need faster.

    Actually, TFA even makes that point. People in rural areas (I'm semi-rural) would love fiber, but it doesn't get to them. People in urban areas, who could get fiber, don't need it. Yet, I should note. Eventually, of course, fiber is the way of the future and everyone should be able to get it standard, but that day is still a ways off.

    • Unless you do lots of, um, downloading "Linux ISOs" off Bittorrent or something, or for professional reasons, most people don't need faster.

      But for the kind of people who are aware of what faster options are potentially available and likely to sign up for them, I'd guess there's a higher than average chance that they do work in technology industries and that they do work from home at times, so that argument feels somehow circular.

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Unless you do lots of, um, downloading "Linux ISOs" off Bittorrent or something, or for professional reasons, most people don't need faster.

      One of the new games I looked at on Steam recently was 30GB. Several of the games I already own are 10-25GB.

      Admittedly downloading a new game isn't something I do often, but when I do it would be nice if I didn't have to wait a day for it to complete. Just not enough to be worth paying 3x as much every month.

      • This is actually one of the reasons I would love a faster Internet. But for new games, I can usually pre-load to play on release day (speaking of which I believe Skyrim is calling...), and other games I usually pick up only on sales.
      • Just not enough to be worth paying 3x as much every month.

        That is really the bottom line isn't it. Faster broadband is nice but for most people (myself included) it's pretty low down the priority list.

    • good point about it being 'fast enough', but if enough people had 100mbps to the home, they could start using movie on demand type services (rather than youtube on demand quality we have at the moment). That might change the way we look at the internet, but it won't happen until enough people have it.

      No, I can't think of any other reasons to have it :)

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      I just checked if my parents could get BT Infinity, and BT tells me their area will have the service from March 2012. They live in a village of about 3000 people, in he Midlands.

      I live in London, and it will be available here from January, though I already have 30Mb/s from Virgin, and don't have time for a new 12+ month contract.

      (The 10Mb/s upload would be useful for both houses. I'll get it next time I move house.)

  • Virgin Media will shortly trial 1.5Gbps cable Internet, but only to festering dot-com media cocks who live actually around Shoreditch itself.

    “As the pace of technological change increases,” said the ISP in the press release all the papers copied word for word, “it is vitally important to public health that these people have as absolutely much incentive as possible never to leave their homes. Wanking themselves silly over gigabytes of high-definition porn also reduces their likelihood of reproducing.”

    With the warmer weather, the Hoxton toxic waste pool has been growing and spreading, with reports of hipster infestations washing up as far afield as Hackney.

    If the creative industries cannot be kept under control, by 2015 the entire population of Britain may be beret-wearing latte-sipping surrender monkeys telling you how much they just can’t stand hipsters. Virgin Media is currently rolling out 100Mbps broadband to two million of the most endangered residential premises in the hope of effective quarantine.

    In the wider world, high speed Internet will apparently let consumers access all manner of as yet nonexistent socially-redeeming services made of magic beans and pink unicorns, which actually means BitTorrenting a pirated movie in under five minutes. And hitting your download cap in another ten.

    Virgin Media also announced that its overall revenue for the first quarter was up 5.7 percent to £982m, as a result of the utter lack of any correlation between making money on a service and actually being able to provide it in a manner even slightly resembling reliability or competence. []

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Microlith ( 54737 )

      So now other sites are spamming the /. comments sections with their own drivel?

    • by Bazman ( 4849 )

      Actually its the complete opposite. The telephone companies are desperate to fibre-up the working class estates in order to cut into Sky's satellite TV revenues. In my town I hear you can get fast fibre internet north of the river, but not on the more middle-class south side. There's no money to be made in infrastructure unless you can sell 260 channels of endless crap to unemployed chavs sitting on their butts all day. Slight caricature.

  • Catch 22 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:00PM (#38029786) Homepage

    To some extent, there isn't much of a reason to have a fast connection until there are services that exploit it. But then, who's going to develop services that exploit fast connections when most people don't have them?

    If you build it, they will come.

  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:00PM (#38029790) Homepage

    I've got 6Mb/s and it's almost always enough. I can surf and watch Netflix in HD at the same time. The only time I notice it is when doing a large download (CD sized or above, often software updates). Right now, it's pretty much plenty. In fact, the upload cap (768Kb/s? 1Mb/s?) is far more annoying.

    If you had multiple people in the house, I could see having it higher... but I'm not sure the vast majority of houses would even need 25Mb/s right now, let alone 50-100Mb/s.

  • I have it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dominux ( 731134 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:02PM (#38029794) Homepage

    it is rather good, I didn't get it from BT because they are crap at customer service, don't know what a fixed IP address is and have a fixation with their crappy homehub routers, I got it from Plusnet which resell the raw service, include a crappy but standard and functional netgear router and for a bit extra you can get a fixed IP address. I get 34MB downstream and 1.6MB upstream. Initially I had problems with the cheap nasty BT huawei interface box overheating, but they have a revised model that doesn't cook itself, but you must still wall mount it to get the passive cooling working properly.

    • Because peer post mentioned it ... []

      On 16 November 2006, it was announced that BT were making an offer for all shares in Plusnet. The BT deal (worth approximately £67m) was declared unconditional on 24 January 2007 (after OFT approval was granted).

    • "Initially I had problems with the cheap nasty BT huawei interface box overheating, but they have a revised model that doesn't cook itself, but you must still wall mount it to get the passive cooling working properly."

      Sounds like a candidate for an external fan zip tied or velcro'ed on so you don't have to mod the thing and can exchange it when it does die.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:03PM (#38029800) Homepage Journal

    Why bother with 'superfast' if all its going to do is get you to your monthly cap faster ( and potentially overage charges ) ?

    • by wjh31 ( 1372867 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:20PM (#38029984) Homepage
      Cant speak for BT, but virgin use throttling instead of a cap If you get through more than some amount (typically a few GB's) during peak times your speeds will be throttled to 25% for a few hours, beyond that you can do what you want. And the top end services mentioned here dont even have that throttling....
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:37PM (#38030198) Journal
      Virgin's 50Mb/s and 100Mb/s connections have no caps. Their slower connections don't have monthly caps, but they have peak amounts (which generally total something like 5-10GB/day) that will result in your connection being throttled to 25% speed if you exceed them.
    • We can get it at our business, but for you yanks its an extra $150 usd setup, and then the charge per month with caps.

      I enquired with our good award winning isp [so not bt or virgin] who's salesman via email gave me a very generic information which i could probably find on there website. Telling me that its pppoe rather than ppoa was way too technical by this genius. So i now know what routers need which might be important, i made a point of asking them, and was not impressed.

      Since the salesman was not bo

  • But unfortunately I don't live in an area with cable or fibre, so I'm stuck with DSL. Even if it was available I've no need for a landline telephone so I have to add a sizeable amount to those seemingly cheap prices. I'd be looking at ~£40 p.m. for uncapped* fibre; for some reason the 20MB and 40MB packages cost the same. That also requires a minimum 18 months contract. (Virgin are marginally cheaper)

    Maybe I'm not in the 2+2.4 kids target audience, but I'll stick with my £12, 8MB, contract-free

  • People Don't Care (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:04PM (#38029812)

    Most people in cities will hardly notice the difference between 20Mbit and 50Mbit. It is the people who are out in the middle of nowhere who struggle to get 2Mbit who actually need these upgrades.

  • Its so stupidly expensive.

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:20PM (#38029970) the same country that fought against decimalisation of currency because it was too complicated and central heating because it weakened the spirit. - paraphrasing footnotes in Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.


  • First of all, upgrading to fiber and provisioning for "superfast" are two different things. Putting fiber infrastructure in place, (having it run to your house when available) makes sense for future expansion even if you're not provisioned at the maximum rate.

    I'd have expected less than 5% adoption for 24 Mb/sec. Most consumers don't need that kind of bandwidth for anything legal except for bragging rights or because they don't understand the difference between speed and latency. Most of the performance

  • by asdf7890 ( 1518587 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:20PM (#38029992)
    For most home users "up to 8Mbit" is perfectly sufficient. You can you youtube, iPlayer and iTunes down 2Mbit just fine much more is nice but not worth paying extra for..

    The largest group of people who want FTTC are people on long lines that are heavily speed restricted for that reason, for these people FTTC lifts them from the just-about-good-enough-these-days 2Mbit range. Unfortunately most of these places are not well served by fibre: both Virgin and BT are concentrating on central urban areas where they can serve a larger number of people with the same amount of equipment+effort as less concentrated places, and those central urban areas don't tend to have such long routes between them and the exchange to start with. For people already getting 8Mbit or more from ADSL2+ it often isn't worth the hassle of switching (which means signing up for a 12 or 18 month contract). Another group that faster lines are useful for is student houses where you are likely to find several relatively heavy users, but the 12-to-18 month contract makes the product useless to them as they are likely only in that house for 9 months.

    I only switched to FTTC for the better upstream rate - I've gone from getting ~1.2Mbit up to close to ~8.5M (off a sync rate of 9995K) which meant I could bring a few websites and bits literally "in house" and makes my off-site backups more practical. While I can make use of the 31Mbit I see downstream now, the ~12 I was getting before was perfectly sufficient. If I'm shifting anything big enough that the speed bump downstream makes a difference I'll generally still transfer it overnight anyway when I'll be too asleep to notice (it isn't often I decide to grab 10Gbyte of something on the spur the the moment and want it now now now). And I consider myself a pretty heavy user (nearly 150Gbyte downstream already this month, upstream is unmetered so I don't keep an eye on that).
  • The big use for lots of bandwidth is video, and to get video anywhere close to broadcast time requires a television license, so you might as well just get a television license and not watch the video online at all.

    -- Terry

  • by QX-Mat ( 460729 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:43PM (#38030266)

    I was a Virgin subscriber for less than 28 days the other month. Thankfully I took advantage of their 28 day moneyback guarentee... why? All of their plans, except the most expensive one, capped you from 10Mb+ to 2Mb after 2Gb during 'peak time' (where peak time is a series of 4 hour slots throughout the day).

    2Gb? That's less than movie on X-Box Live, 30 minutes of HD iPlayer or a 2Gb game patch... Deus Ex and BF3 are both 8Gb on Steam/Origin. The 2Mb cap is supposed to last until the end of the current peak period, or not more than 4 hours (iirc), but this didn't happen. If you hit the cap during the day, you were capped until 3am or later. Trying to use youtube or iPlayer on 2Mb is a painful experience. 480p would buffer and buffer and buffer - you had to load in the background and pause it regularly.

    27 minutes of fast internet access, a package sold by misdescription, is a joke. Being able to fundamentally alter your service (by 80% or more) within 27 minutes is a joke. And people wonder why the target audience aren't running to sign up.

    (Virgins ADSL2 service drop you to 5Mb, and are much more forgiving. Sky don't cap me at all - amazing!)

  • I'd rather have 8mb/s, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week than 100mb/s intermittently.

    Broadband providers should be required to advertise the highest speed you can run continuously for a month, alongside the price for that including all fees and taxes.

  • An ISP contract is more than just a number of potential megabits, it's caps, and prices, and reliability, and QoS, and for some people it's also about customer service. Just quoting their marketing numbers doesn't mean much. They also don't indicate who the target demographic is for these service tiers. If I could upgrade to a 50 or 100mbit service for, say, $50 more, I probably would, but I'm a heavy data consumer - I work from home, we stream or torrent just about everything we watch, and I buy quite a

  • First one: Both Virgin and BT will happily sell you out. Legal status ignored, they just will on the first request.
    Second: What good is those 100Mb/s if your router is unable to keep more than 20 TCP connections open?

  • by TheOriginalRevdoc ( 765542 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @07:32PM (#38030734) Journal
    I wonder how many people use a 54Mbps wireless LAN in their homes to connect to their "super fast" Internet...
  • *The* killer app for super high bandwidth connections is streaming HD video, i.e. live television + on-demand shows/movies. Until people can get all their TV needs met over a dumb, high-bandwidth pipe, they won't bother with it and 8Mbps will be enough.

    And the entrenched players (cable/sat companies, studios, networks) aren't doing it. Why should Comcast sell you a dumb 100Mbps pipe for $40/mo? If they did that, they you would watch all live TV and get all channels/shows on-demand via a la carte third pa

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"